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News Feature: Sticking with Twitter?

February 1, 2023, #28

On 19 January 2023 the “Scholarly Kitchen” hosted a discussion about “The Dea(r)th of Social Media? Assessing ‘Twexit’”. The participants were a mix of library directors, professors, publishers, and consultants.

The introduction to the posts lays out the problem, “... the rocky tenure of Twitter’s new CEO and what many see as his open embrace of disinformation may portend a dramatic shift away from what’s been a decade plus-long bulwark of the industry.”¹ There are services that could replace Twitter, but have not so far. Angela Cochran writes: “...there is the question of whether one should continue to push out content on a platform that is actively turning a blind eye to anti-science content and promising to not moderate hate speech.”¹

Karin Wulf writes “… I’m starting to meet and connect with new people and to learn about new projects and events in my field and related ones through Mastodon…”¹ Mastodon is a newer and more distributed social media platform, “though it’s not what Twitter was, it’s already become quite valuable as a professional space.”¹

Rick Anderson is cautious about predicting the death of Twitter, and writes that he continues to use Twitter despite concern about the owner’s politics: “I would hope that people assess my politics based on what I say and do, rather than on who owns the platform I happen to occupy at a given moment.”¹

Another of the authors, Lisa Hinchliffe, writes that she joined “Mastodon in 2019” and notes that the people she interacts with on social media “are now on Twitter and Mastodon…”¹. She feels that Twitter “is still delivering far greater value than Mastodon”¹, and finds “the distributed nature of Mastodon a weakness and the promises of the seamlessness of server migration are greater than what was delivered in my experience.”¹

David Crotty writes that he has planned to stay on Twitter as long as possible, but that the company’s decision to begin “blocking third party apps from accessing their API … means that my usual tools, Tweetbot and Twitterific no longer function.”¹ Explanations about this policy change are hard to get because Twitter no longer has a Communications department. He argues also that from the corporate viewpoint “the real customers are those paying for advertisements.”¹ In a sense, of course, everyone who uses Twitter is supporting it because the advertisers care about the number or readers.

The iSchools have never been heavy users of Twitter, but we have an account. The question is, whether to continue to use it.

 

1: Crotty, Karin Wulf, Angela Cochran, Rick Anderson, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, David. 2023. ‘The Dea(r)Th of Social Media? Assessing “Twexit”’. The Scholarly Kitchen. 19 January 2023. https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2023/01/19/the-dearth-of-social-media-assessing-twexit/.

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